Diary of a Yankee Engineer: The Civil War Story of John H. Westervelt, Engineer, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps

By John H. Westervelt; Anita Palladino | Go to book overview

Diary of an Engineer During the
Rebellion

No. 45

Sept 6th, 1864 Last night at 10 P.M. occurred one of the severest wind and rain storms I have ever witnessed. It was a perfect howl accompanied by occasional blinding flashes of lightning and heavy thunder, The rain pouring tents completely flooding everything around. Tents were ripped up and canvass roofs torn to ribbons. Our camp being in a not very exposed position escaped the general destruction. The roof of our new depot was slightly damaged. On going to the hospital this morning I was complimented by Capt Pratt (the doctor) because the tents I put up yesterday had not blown away. They stand exposed on the highest ground in the vicinity. The Matilda (hospital boat)1 broke loose, dragging a section of the canal boat dock with her. A rough time was had getting her back again. As the City of Jersey is about taking her place I was engaged a couple of hours on board looking after some men hanging doors &c after which, it being misty and damp we knocked off. I spent the balance of the day in fixing up my tent. I have things pretty comfortable with a regular door with latch and all complete. I have secured a stove against the winter. A sutler left it behind when he moved up to the front a long time ago and I wont lose anything by having laid it aside for future use. I could get five dollars for it now, and 23 by the 1st of Oct. I find by calculating my shanty has cost Uncle Sam 100 dols, 75 for tent and 25 for box. A hospital tent is 15 ft square costs about 600 dols. What do you think of that for cotton. … 30 for this post besides those for officers and other officials and splendid steamboat lying continually at the wharf with twice as many running from place to place. Grants army must take ten times as many. 7th We are commencing

1. A shortage of hospitals led Medical Director Charles Tripler to arrange for temporary hospitals in several Virginia locations. Steamers were also pressed into service, transformed into hospital ships.

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